Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI 1916 Commemorative Programme launches with ‘And Spring Shall Come'

09 October 2015

Love/Hate actor Aoibhinn McGinnity and producer Moya Doherty, among star team for new production to mark 1916 centenary

 ‘And Spring Shall Come', a new production commemorating the dramatic events of Easter 1916 and World War I, will open tonight at RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland). This unique staged performance is produced by RCSI and Moya Doherty, River Productions and stars Aoibhinn McGinnity, best known for her role in the hit TV series Love/Hate. The play is the first event in the RCSI 1916 Commemorative Programme ‘Surgeons and Insurgents', which will mark the College's unique role in the historical events of 1916.

This highly innovative one act literary drama is an original concept by Dr Chris Fitzpatrick, former Master of the Coombe Women's Hospital and is co-written and directed by Ruán Magan with a stellar cast of Nick Dunning, Mark Lambert, Seán T. Ó Meallaigh, Ian Toner and music composed by Pól Brennan, a founder member of Clannad.

‘And Spring Shall Come' interrogates the idealism and fundamentalism that gave rise to the Easter Rising and World War I, bringing together the words of 70 of the most influential poets and writers of the era who were caught up in these conflicts. The play follows five fallen angels, Forcas, Uzza, Penemuel, Ronobe and Aram, who are cast from Heaven charged with the task of reminding us of the best and worst elements of our nature, through the most powerful language they can find; the work of some of the finest writers and visionaries of their generations and their time.

Mr Declan J. Magee, President, RCSI said: "We are delighted to commence our RCSI 1916 Commemorative Programme with this specially commissioned production: ‘And Spring Shall Come'. By exploring the innermost thoughts of those caught up on all sides of these conflicts, this inspiring performance will aptly reflect RCSI's own involvement in the 1916 Easter Rising and World War I."

Moya Doherty, River Productions and Producer of ‘And Spring Shall Come' said: "When I was asked to produce this unique event I was intrigued to see how the theatres of war, medicine and art could come together to illustrate the involvement of the Irish people in general and RCSI in particular in both the events of Easter 1916 and World War I. What has developed through rehearsals is, I believe, an extraordinarily fresh telling of that story."

RCSI holds a unique place in the historical events of the 1916 Easter Rising, housing the garrison of the Irish Citizen's Army led by Commander Michael Mallin and Countess Constance Markievicz. Remarkably, RCSI is the only significant building to have been involved in the Easter Rising which still stands in its original form today. RCSI Alumni and Fellows were also closely associated with the Easter Rising as they treated the wounded from both sides. While the rebellion broke out at home, further afield, 1086 doctors and 180 RCSI students served in some capacity during World War I, accounting for 50 per cent of the College population at the time. The RCSI 1916 Commemorative Programme will reflect the College's unique history of diversity, long-standing international outlook and historical leadership in surgery and medicine.

The centrepiece of the RCSI 1916 Commemorative Programme, which will coincide with the official state commemorations, is a special exhibition ‘Surgeons and Insurgents - RCSI and the Easter Rising' and accompanying public lecture series. The exhibition, open to the public from 24th March - 17th April 2016, will tell the story of the 1916 Easter Rising through the human stories of key figures associated with RCSI and the Easter Rising, on both sides of the conflict, against the backdrop of World War I and the living conditions in Dublin at the time. The line-up of speakers will include historian Dr. Mary McAuliffe (RCSI and 1916); Tony Kinsella (Blood and Bandages - Medicine and the Easter Rising); Lisa Goodson and Dr Joanna Bruck (Stuff Matters-The Material Culture of 1916); and Paul O'Brien (Shootout-The Battle for St Stephens Green).

Other special events for 2016 will include a video mapping spectacle on Culture Night 2016, taking place on Friday 16th September 2016. A spectacular 3D animated light show will bring the front of RCSI's iconic building on St Stephen's Green to life, taking viewers on a journey through RCSI's history from its foundation in 1784, though the historical events of 1916, and ending with a glimpse into the future cutting edge healthcare technology being developed by the College, as part of this visual extravaganza.

Further updates about the RCSI 1916 Commemorative Programme ‘Surgeons and Insurgents' will be available at  

RCSI is ranked 46th in the world for ‘International Outlook' and #251 - 300 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2015-2016). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.